Lost Joy

(2002, TNI Books; 2015, Verse Chorus Press)

By the year 2000, a number of my self-published pamphlets and whatnot were scattered hither and yon. These included a series of tracts that documented my postering projects. I approached Adam Voith of TNI Books with the idea of collecting into a single volume all the remnants and reviews that just then were becoming difficult to find.

Adam was an excellent publisher and this remains my favorite Camden Joy work. It looks beautiful and contains a range of things that had been published, with the help of Mark Lerner at Rag & Bone Shop and Steve Connell at Verse Chorus Press, throughout the mid-1990s. Titles such as:

The Greatest Record Album Ever Told (about Frank Black’s Teenager of the Year); The Greatest Record Album Singer That Ever Was (about Al Green); The Lost Manifestoes of Camden Joy (various music screeds glued around NYC in late 1995); This Poster Will Change Your Life (painted posters “protesting” the Macintosh NYC Music Festival of 1996); Dear CMJ… Posters of Protest from the CMJoy Gang (hand-written collaborative open letters posted in public spaces in 1996); and Make Me Laugh, Make Me Cry: Fifty Posters About Souled American (ornate posters plastered around Manhattan in mid-1997).

Despite everyone’s best efforts, the book drew little interest. It quickly fell out of print and remained so until resurrected by Verse Chorus Press for the 2015 reissue series.


“Swagger: Musical Influence in Camden’s Joy Fiction (aka Tom Adelman)”

Trinie Dalton, Numero Cinq, May 2014.

“Post-swagger in New Journalism is where Tom Adelman, aka Camden Joy, finds his lineage, namely with the Manifestos and personal essays collected in Lost Joy…”

“Like Trenton but Without the Thrills”

Benjamin Bush, Los Angeles Review of Books, January 12, 2014.

“Joy referred to his early writing not as posters and chapbooks, but as broadsides and tracts – terms that not only explicitly predate rock as a phenomenon, but that also places the writing in an expressly political or religious context…”

“Posted Proselytizing”

Michael Mejia, November 27, 2002, copyright Knowledge DeZigns, Inc.

Lost Joy opens with a quote from former Oakland Raiders running back Marcus Allen, articulating the instinctual immediacy of the rush…”

Review of “Lost Joy”

Neil David Burkey, Lost at Sea Magazine, October 8, 2002.

“Maybe this book was so unsettling and so moving to me because it was so unexpected. From what very little I knew about Camden Joy I was ready for a lousy compilation of music reviews, or the feeble attempt of a music reviewer at writing a novel, and what I received instead was an impassioned call for a better understanding of life and loss.”

Review of “Lost Joy”

Matthew Flaming, Word Riot

“Despite the occasional failings of Lost Joy, this collection still contains some of the finest rock writing, and some of the finest short stories, to be published in recent memory.”

“In a Puckish Mood”

Tosh Berman, Puck and CLF Newsletter, Issue One.

“The best things in life are mysterious and soulful. Camden Joy meets these two categories perfectly.”

“Oh Joy”

Laura Cassidy, Seattle Weekly, October 2, 2002

“Camden Joy is one of those authors that you ought not trust to tell you the truth.”

“On the Bus With Camden Joy”

Sean Glennon, Springfield Advocate, August 15-21, 1996.

“Camden Joy is as much poet as rock critic, social commentator and pamphleteer.”

“Joy to the World: This guerrilla writer gives a unique voice to rock and roll”

Jon Garelick, The Boston Phoenix, July 28, 1996.

“Camden Joy is probably the freshest voice to write about rock and roll since the last gasps of Lester Bangs’s carburetor dung rantings.”

“The Joy of Riffing”

David Ulin, LA Weekly, July 26-August 1, 1996.

“Joy is part passion, part put-on, working in an elevated, ecstatic style that hints at his engagement even as it allows for a certain ironic distance.”

“Rock n’ Roll Love Letters”

David Futrelle, Chicago Reader, July 4, 1996.

“If any of this is true, it’s almost surely by chance.”

“Manifesto Destiny”

Sia Michel, San Francisco Bay Guardian, June 5, 1996.

“Simultaneously an elitist and a self-styled man of the people, Joy is determined to clear the cobwebs out of rock writing.”

“Manifestoes of Joy”

Dave Gingold, Eugene Weekly, May 16, 1996.

“…his lack of restraint is teamed with a depth of understanding and a reckless style and sense of humor that makes these writings well worth seeking out.”

“Culture to Go”

Will Hermes, Minneapolis City Pages, May 1, 1996.

“Desperate, failed, and beautiful comes the work of Camden Joy.”

“A Fan’s Notes: The guerrilla rock criticism of Camden Joy”

Richard Gehr, Spin, May 1996.

“With Camden Joy, it’s difficult to ascertain where fantasy begins and where reality enjoys happy hour.”

Last Rock Star Book cover

“I hereby suggest the American President of the United States and all them U.S. trade reps haul Pavement to the trade talks. They are our grandest export, our finest product, infusible in hot weather, our best materials. Pavement should be carried on our shoulders and emblazoned on our backs and ushered unto waiting planes at the last minute with an almost effete, deliberate importance, their bellies bloated with our very best meats."